Also published on this date: Monday, August 23, 2021: Maximum Shelf: Bewilderment

Shelf Awareness for Monday, August 23, 2021

Margaret K. McElderry Books: Spell Bound by F.T. Lukens

Forge: Mr Katō Plays Family by Milena Michiko Flašar, translated by Caroline Froh

Ballantine Books: The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer

Island Press: The Jewel Box: How Moths Illuminate Nature's Hidden Rules by Tim Blackburn

Berkley Books: Business or Pleasure by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Berkley Books: The First Ladies by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Minotaur Books: Deadlock: A Thriller (Dez Limerick Novel #2) by James Byrne


Kan.'s Raven Bookstore Opens in New Location

The Raven Bookstore, Lawrence, Kan., has opened in its new location, at 809 Massachusetts Ave. As owner Danny Caine wrote to customers, "It's a bright and beautiful space, the result of collaboration between local businesses, artists, and contractors, all led by the vision of lead designer Aaron Marable. We can't wait for you to see it!"

On August 16, the store closed for the final time at its old location, at 6 East 7th St., where it had been for more than 30 years. The bookstore announced the move last fall, noting that "we're committed to both being the bookstore we can for our community as well as fighting for justice, and this new space will help us do both things."

Raven Bookstore will hold a grand opening celebration in September.

William Morrow & Company: Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Seattle's Elliott Bay Book Co., Union Agree on Contract


Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash., and the Book Workers Union, the employee union, have concluded negotiations and entered into a collective bargaining agreement that the union ratified on August 17.

Owner Peter Aaron commented: "When we began the process of negotiating the contract, it was my hope that the end result would constitute a new model of a compact between a business management and a work force that clearly articulates the rights and responsibilities of each in a manner equitable to both and beneficial to the soundness of the business, commitment to good citizenship, and the quality of customer service that would result. I believe the three-year agreement we've enacted achieves that high standard, and I'm grateful to, and proud of, the negotiators on both sides for the hard work, perseverance and high principles that brought it about. I look forward to our working together with renewed energy and single-minded focus on accomplishing the level of service that our customers expect from us."

The union formed in March 2020 and was immediately recognized by Aaron.

William Morrow & Company: A Death in Denmark: The First Gabriel Præst Novel by Amulya Malladi

#BookstoreRomanceDay: 'The Best Kind of Date Is One with a Book!'

On Saturday, booksellers across the U.S. celebrated Bookstore Romance Day, which is designed to give indies "an opportunity to celebrate Romance fiction--its books, readers, and writers--and to strengthen the relationships between bookstores and the Romance community." Here's a sampling of bookshops sharing #BookstoreRomanceDay fun on social media:

At Quail Ridge Books

Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.: "Happy #BookstoreRomanceDay! Here at Blue Willow, we are proud to celebrate #Romance. Come by the shop and share some joy with Cathy! There will be recommendations. There will be laughs. There will be hand flailing. See you soon, friends!"

Schuler Books, Okemos & Grand Rapids, Mich.: "It's Bookstore Romance Day! Amy and Lauren had a lot of fun recreating the covers of romance books! Which is your favorite?
Be sure to check out part 2 in a separate posting!"

Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, Mont.: "You better believe Jessica is celebrating Bookstore Romance Day! Give me all the sassy heroines, soft heroes, and werewolves! Oh, and witches!"

Books & Books, with several stores in South Florida: "Love is in the air and on our shelves! Today is #BookstoreRomanceDay. Make a date to stop in and shop the romance section in each of our locations!"

Bookery Manchester, Manchester, N.H.: "Pin the heart on the protagonist. 'I almost got it!!' "

At Queen Anne Books

Carmichael's Bookstore, Louisville, Ky.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day! Bookseller Emma is an avid reader and put together this stack of her favorite romance fiction."

An Unlikely Story, Plainville, Mass.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day! Shop in-store today and get a free advanced reader copy when you purchase a book or gift item, while supplies last. 

Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Va.: "#romance is in all genres! Preorder @ryka_aoki's Light From Uncommon Stars. Akil and I LOVE this book!"

The Ripped Bodice, Culver City, Calif.: "Amazing job! Still a few weeks left to submit your cards. #BookstoreRomanceDay is an excellent day to catch up!"

Queen Anne Book Co., Seattle, Wash.: "Today is Bookstore Romance Day, with our booksellers showing their favorite romance novels.... What's yours?"

Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, Tex.: "Ashley is very proud of her ROMANCE BOOK display and really wants to share her favorite reads with fellow fans. If you are a lover of all things romantical and happy ever afterish, you should stop by today for BOOKSTORE ROMANCE DAY. We've got giveaways, prizes and lots of (Hershey's) kisses!"

Love's Sweet Arrow, Tinley Park, Ill.: "We were so lucky to spend #BookstoreRomanceDay with authors @MPMtheWriter and @BarbaraKeaton26 and they left signed books!"

Blue House Books, Kenosha, Wis.: "The best kind of date is one with a book! What would be your dream blind date with a book? Pop on into the store this weekend for Blind Date with a Book and see what mystery read awaits you!"

At Lark & Owl Booksellers

Broadside Bookshop, Northampton, Mass.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day from our little romance section to you!! These three shelves are *bursting* with love stories for all. Looking for queer regency romance? Modern feminist rom-coms? The thrilling romantic suspense novels of Selena Montgomery (aka @staceyabrams !!)? Sapphic love throughout history? We've got it all! Not quite sure romance novels are your cup of tea? Give it a try, you might just be surprised!"

Bards Alley Bookshop, Vienna, Va.: "We're opening the doors, so it's time to open your minds and share some #BookstoreRomanceDay opinions with us! Who is your bookseller crush? Which Bards Alley bookseller's mind is on the same wavelength as yours?"

Whitelam Books, Reading, Mass.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day! We love our romance section--and romance readers! Come help us celebrate by buying some romance novels!"

The Doylestown Bookshop, Doylestown, Pa.: "We love our romance section--and romance readers! Come help us celebrate #bookstoreromanceday on 8/21."

the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.: "Love will beat the heat,/ And sweep you off your feet!/ Shout hip hip hooray,/ It's Bookstore Romance Day!"

Main Street Books, Davidson, N.C.: "Happy Bookstore Romance Day! We've got so many wonderful and uplifting Romance novels in store! For today only, a purchase of one of these heartwarming books will enter you into our giveaway!"

At Rediscovered Books

Rediscovered Books, Boise & Caldwell, Idaho: "It's been a fabulous #BookstoreRomanceDay filled with book recommendations, balloons, stickers, chocolate, and good people."

Bookstore Romance Day: "Good night from the end of #BookstoreRomanceDay. I hope you got some great books and saw some great panels. Don't forget, we have even more in store for tomorrow, 'cos we couldn't fit it all in one day."

AuthorBuzz for the Week of 02.06.23

Obituary Note: James W. Loewen

James Loewen

James W. Loewen, author of Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong, died on August 19 following a long illness. He was 79 years old.

The New York Times described Loewen as "a relentless contrarian who challenged anyone who imagined academic life as a passage through genteel lectures on settled matters for drowsy students on leafy campuses. He charged through history like a warrior, dismantling fictions and exposing towns for excluding minorities; teachers and historians for dumbing lessons down; and defendants in 50 class-action lawsuits who, according to his expert testimony, victimized people in civil rights, voting rights and job discrimination cases."

Among his well-known quotations are "Those who don't remember the past are condemned to repeat the 11th grade" and "People have a right to their own opinions, but not to their own facts. Evidence must be located, not created, and opinions not backed by evidence cannot be given much weight."

Besides Lies My Teacher Told Me, a backlist star that has sold more than two million copies, Loewen also wrote Lies My Teacher Told Me About Christopher Columbus, Lies Across America, Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism and Lies My Teacher Told Me: Young Readers' Edition, all published by the New Press.

At the time of his death, Loewen was working with graphic artist Nate Powell on a graphic edition of Lies My Teacher Told Me, which will be published posthumously. He also wrote Teaching What Really Happened; The Mississippi Chinese: Between Black and White; and the memoir Up a Creek, with a Paddle. He also edited The Confederate and Neo-Confederate Reader: The "Great Truth" About the "Lost Cause."

Among many honors, Loewen won the American Book Award, the Oliver Cromwell Cox Award for Distinguished Anti-Racist Scholarship, the Spirit of America Award from the National Council for the Social Studies, and the Gustavus Myers Outstanding Book Award.

Loewen was also at the center of an important First Amendment case that involved Mississippi: Conflict and Change, a Mississippi history textbook co-written and co-edited with Charles Sallis that won the Lillian Smith Book Award for Best Southern Nonfiction in 1976. After the book was rejected for use in state public schools by the Mississippi Textbook Purchasing Board, which said it was controversial and racially inflammatory, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law sued in federal court on behalf of Loewen and his co-authors.

As the Times recounted: "In 1980, a United States District Court, citing First and Fourteenth Amendment freedoms, ruled in favor of Dr. Loewen and his colleagues. The American Library Association called it a victory for the 'right to read freely.' "

Anticipating his death, Loewen recently launched a website to continue to track "sundown towns" after his death and sent the following wish to his supporters: "I hope ALL of you will use my new website at to cause social and intellectual change. With your help, we can all use the energy freed by BLM and George Floyd's death to create a new America in which accurate history prompts positive social change in the present, and such efforts lead to a nation willing to face its past with both eyes open wide."

A memorial service will be held at a later date. The family requests that memorial contributions be made to Tougaloo College in Mississippi (please indicate the contribution is to support Loewen's antiracist website at

G.P. Putnam's Sons: Killing Me by Michelle Gagnon


Image of the Day: Literary Gathering at Valley Booksellers

Last week, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, Minn., hosted its first live literary event since the onset of Covid. The Readers Reunion, on the parking lot of the Zephyr Theater, featured 10 Midwestern authors sharing information about their novels and anecdotes from their lives. The large audience was clearly hungry for literary programming and Valley Bookseller delivered a feast.

Pictured: (top row) Spike Carlson, Matt Goldman, Benjamin Percy, Mindy Mejia, Carolyn Porter, (bottom row) Allen Eskens, David Housewright, Thomas Maltman, Wendy Webb, and Michael Perry. (Photo: Rachael Johnson)

Texas Bookman Presents Texas Remainder Expo

Personnel Changes at Sourcebooks; Candlewick Press

At Sourcebooks, Mandy Chahal has been promoted to associate marketing manager of Poisoned Pen Press.


At Candlewick Press, Paktra Lynch has been hired as educational marketing and consumer outreach assistant.

Media and Movies

Media Heat: Erin Skye Kelly, Anthony Trucks on Good Morning America

Good Morning America: Erin Skye Kelly, author of Get the Hell Out of Debt: The Proven 3-Phase Method That Will Radically Shift Your Relationship to Money (Post Hill Press, $18, 9781642939552).

Tamron Hall: Cecily Strong, author of This Will All Be Over Soon: A Memoir (‎Simon & Schuster, $28, ‎9781982168315).

Good Morning America: Anthony Trucks, author of Identity Shift: Upgrade How You Operate to Elevate Your Life (‎Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press, $19.95, 9781953153401).

Ellen repeat: Jay Shetty, author of Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781982134488).

TV: Margaret Truman's Capital Crimes Series

Margaret Truman's 32-book Capital Crimes series has been acquired by Aaron Magnani (The Last Word), with plans to adapt them into a TV series. Deadline reported that "a specific logline for the series is being kept under wraps." Magnani, who will develop and exec produce the project via his Aaron Magnani Productions, is currently shopping rights to broadcast, cable and streaming platforms.

Truman's first Capital Crimes title, Murder in the White House, was published in 1980. More than 10 million copies of the books have been sold since. Deadline noted that after Truman's death in 2008, "the series continued under the supervision of author Jon Land, who penned the most recent pair of installments: last year's Murder on the Metro and Murder at the CDC which hits shelves in February 2022 via Forge Books."

"With the incredible, engaging storylines and amazing writing... and with self explanatory titles like Murder at the CDC and Murder at the FBI and on Embassy Row or Capitol Hill, you can easily understand why the timing is so perfect for this adapted TV series right now," Magnani said.

Books & Authors

Awards: Leapfrog Global Fiction Winner

KL Anderson has won the Leapfrog Global Fiction Prize 2021 for her novel, But First You Need a Plan, which will appear worldwide in September 2022. The U.S. edition will be published by Leapfrog Press (distributed by Consortium) and the U.K. edition by TSB/Can of Worms.

The runners up are Sharon White for Minato Sketches and Lynn Schmeidler for Possibility Hunger: Stories.

Author Ann Hood, who judged the prize, said about But First You Need a Plan: "I greatly admired the complex story, which weaves past and present deftly and brings a large cast of characters to life. The themes explored here are important ones: betrayal, love, loyalty, and the dangers of the human heart both personally and globally. Seemingly minor details that appear at the beginning return with great impact toward the end. This is a brilliant, breathtaking story and I am so delighted to help in my small way to bring it to the world."

TSB/Can of Worms publisher Tobias Steed said about KL Anderson: "This is her first novel; she has trained as an ecologist and wetland scientist. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in Seattle with her husband and son. We are just delighted to be bringing into the world a tantalizing new voice."

Top Library Recommended Titles for September

LibraryReads, the nationwide library staff-picks list, offers the top 10 September titles public library staff across the country love:

Top Pick
Under the Whispering Door by TJ Klune (Tor, $26.99, 9781250217349). "After dying of a heart attack, Wallace ends up in Charon's Crossing Tea and Treats, a shop run by Hugo the ferryman, whose job is to help people come to terms with their death and cross over. Wallace learns and grows, becoming better in death than in life. For readers who enjoy character-driven, humorous, and heartrending stories and fans of A Man Called Ove, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance, and Less." --Andrea Roberts, Westhampton Free Library, Westhampton Beach, N.Y.

The Charm Offensive: A Novel by Alison Cochrun (‎Atria, $17, 9781982170714). "Charlie signed up for the reality dating show to rebrand his image. Little did he know he would fall for his producer, Dev. Can Dev and Charlie create the picture-perfect romance on screen, or will their behind-the-scenes romance derail both of their career plans? For fans of reality romance, One to Watch, and Something to Talk About." --Kari Bingham-Gutierrez, Olathe Public Library, Olathe, Kan.

Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel by Anthony Doerr (Scribner, $30, ‎9781982168438). "Several main storylines, all connected to a 'lost' ancient Greek manuscript, are set in 15th century Constantinople, present day Idaho, and a spaceship in the future. Much of the beauty of this novel is in watching the pieces slowly come together to tell an eternal story that is both heartbreaking and hopeful. For fans of All the Light We Cannot See, and Cloud Atlas." --Jenifer May, Secaucus Public Library, Secaucus, N.J.

Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law by Mary Roach (Norton, $26.95, 9781324001935). "Roach once again proves that she is one of the best pop science writers out there. From door knobs to divine intervention, with some lasers and effigies thrown in for fun, she chronicles the push and pull of the human/wildlife struggle for co-existence. You will laugh, you will likely cry, and you'll never look at Indian elephants quite the same way. For fans of Bill Bryson and Sarah Vowell." --Marianne Kruppa, Indianapolis Public Library, Indianapolis, Ind.

Harlem Shuffle: A Novel by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, $28.95, 9780385545136). "Read if you want a brilliantly plotted heist novel set in 1960s New York. The Harlem setting with its creeping gentrification is a significant part of the story. For readers who enjoyed Deacon King Kong and Black Bottom Saints." --Jennifer Schultz, Fauquier County Public Library, Warrenton, Va.

The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward (Tor Nightfire, $27.99, ‎9781250812629). "In a boarded-up house on a remote street live recluse Ted, his daughter Lauren, Dee (sister of a long-missing girl), and Olivia, a Bible-quoting cat. Wonderfully eerie and twisted psychological horror, with an ending you're sure you've read before (until you realize you haven't). For fans of Stephen Graham Jones and Shirley Jackson." --Kimberly McGee, Lake Travis Community Library, Austin, Tex.

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood (Berkley, $16, 9780593336823). "Stanford scientists Olive and Adam begin fake-dating out of mutual convenience, but their relationship causes all sorts of issues on campus. Readers will grow to root for this brainy duo in neuroscientist Hazelwood's romcom debut. For readers of The Kiss Quotient and The Rosie Project." --Cari Dubiel, Twinsburg Public Library, Twinsburg, Ohio

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman (Pamela Dorman, $26, ‎9781984880994). "The competent senior quartet of the Thursday Murder Club returns, this time tracking down stolen diamonds while dealing with a troublesome ex-husband, a local drug queenpin, the arrival of the mafia, and a growing number of murders. An utter delight. For fans of The Postscript Murders and the Flavia deLuce mysteries." --Julie Graham, Yakima Valley Libraries, Yakima, Wash.

Never Saw Me Coming: A Novel by Vera Kurian (Park Row, $27.99, 9780778311553). "A trio of psychopaths attending a Washington, D.C., college take part in a study to see if they can be taught to live productively. When a murderer targets campus, they need to work together to determine if they're among the hunted. This is a jaw-dropping, read-in-one-sitting thriller. For readers of Gillian Flynn and Caroline Kepnes." --Douglas Beatty, Baltimore County Public Library, Baltimore, Md.

No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull (‎Blackstone Publishing, $26.99, 9781982603724). "As creatures from myth and legend reveal themselves to be real, we're reminded that people often are the actual monsters. Turnbull's prose is gorgeous and lush, using contemporary fantasy as a lens to examine real-world oppression and injustice. For fans of Victor LaValle, Tade Thompson and Marlon James." --Carol Ann Tack, Merrick Library, Merrick, N.Y.

Book Review

Review: Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South

Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South by Margaret Renkl (Milkweed Editions, $26 hardcover, 304p., 9781571311849, September 14, 2021)

Everyone should have a friend like Margaret Renkl: thoughtful, engaged, compassionate and, above all, acutely observant. Since that's not always possible, the next best thing is to share her company in the diverse and consistently stimulating essay collection Graceland, at Last: Notes on Hope and Heartache from the American South.

An offhanded conversation in 2015 led to an invitation to Renkl (Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss) to write her first column for the New York Times. A few columns later, she was offered a monthly slot to write about "the flora, fauna, politics and culture of the American South," hoping to educate those living outside that territory that "there is far more to this intricate region than many people understand."

Arranged by themes that include the natural world, politics and social justice, family and community and arts and culture, Renkl's 59 concise essays demonstrate impressive erudition, especially when she ventures into nature to explore subjects like the revival of the Tennessee coneflower, the decline of pollinators like the monarch butterfly and her disdain for the U.S.'s pesticide-drenched "killer lawns." Her prose is both graceful and evocative, well-attuned to "the unfathomable natural beauty of a place that is still predominantly rural and very often wild."

Renkl--who grew up in rural Alabama and has lived for 35 years in Nashville, and self-identifies as a "believer" and a "liberal Christian"--is at her most passionate and unsparing when she turns her attention to the politics of her native region, and specifically the quest for social justice. One of her favorite targets is the Tennessee General Assembly, as she repeatedly castigates its members for everything from their eagerness to suppress the vote to the "colossal failure of empathy" that has led the state to reject the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. Despite her willingness to grant that people are "always more complex than the way they vote could ever suggest," on issues like abortion, gun violence, the death penalty and racism, she's an articulate advocate for her unabashedly progressive views.

The collection ends on a softer note, with pieces on the great singer-songwriter John Prine, or her long-delayed (30 years) visit to Elvis Presley's Memphis mansion. There are portions of Graceland, at Last certain to provoke the ire of both the South's fiercest critics and its equally ardent defenders. What they all should be able to agree on is that Margaret Renkl is both unfailingly honest and deeply empathetic in creating the vivid portrait of her home region that emerges organically from these intensely personal and well-informed essays. --Harvey Freedenberg, freelance reviewer

Shelf Talker: Margaret Renkl's 59 masterly essays illuminate the complexity of life in the contemporary American South.

AuthorBuzz: Berkley Books: Lemon Curd Killer (Tea Shop Mystery #25) by Laura Childs
AuthorBuzz: Nonlinear Publishing LLC: Moral Code by Lois and Ross Melbourne
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